Ultimate Picture Palace

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Ultimate Picture Palace
Porticoed façade with Roman Doric columns on square plinths and small semicircular pediment
Façade of the Ultimate Picture Palace
Former namesOxford Picture Palace (1911–17)

Penultimate Picture Palace (1976–94)

Section 6 Cinema (1994)
AddressJeune Street, Oxford OX4 1BN
LocationEast Oxford, off Cowley Road
Coordinates51°44′55″N 1°14′22″W / 51.748704°N 1.239333°W / 51.748704; -1.239333Coordinates: 51°44′55″N 1°14′22″W / 51.748704°N 1.239333°W / 51.748704; -1.239333
Public transitOxford Bus Co 5, U5, U5X

Stagecoach buses 1, 10, 12

Thames Travel bus T1
OperatorBecky Hallsmith
Typeindependent cinema
Genre(s)independent films,
World cinema,
repertory cinema
Broke ground1910
Opened24 February 1911; 108 years ago (1911-02-24)
Renovated1976, 1994–96, 2014
Closed1917–76, 1994–96

The Ultimate Picture Palace is an independent cinema in Oxford, England. It is Oxford's first and only independent cinema, showing an eclectic mix of independent, mainstream, foreign language, and classic films.

The cinema was awarded Grade II listed building status in 1994.[1]


Frank Stuart opened Oxford's first cinema, the Electric Theatre, in Castle Street, in 1910. He was the licensee of the Elm Tree pub on the corner of Cowley Road and Jeune Street. Also in 1910 work started to build Stuart's second cinema on land in Jeune Street behind the Elm Tree. It opened on 24 February 1911 as the Oxford Picture Palace.[2]

In 1917 the manager was conscripted to serve in the First World War. The cinema was closed and stood unused for many years before being turned into as a furniture warehouse.[3]

In 1976 Bill Heine and Pablo Butcher[3] reopened the cinema as the Penultimate Picture Palace.[4] They added a sculpture of Al Jolson's hands by John Buckley to the façade.[2] The first film to be shown was Winstanley. Under the new management the cinema gained a reputation for showing an eclectic and provocative range of films that set it apart from the mainstream cinemas of the time.

In 1994 Heine closed the Penultimate Picture Palace.[5] For a month that summer it was squatted by the Oxford Freedom Network, which reopened it as Studio 6 Cinema. Then brothers Saied and Zaid Marham bought it and spent £40,000 restoring the neoclassical façade.[6] They reopened it as the Ultimate Picture Palace in June 1996.

In the 2000s the cinema got into debt. In July 2009 Saied Marham sold it to Philippa Farrow and Jane Derricott, who installed a small refreshment bar at the west end of the auditorium.[5]

In 2011 Farrow and Derricott sold the cinema to Becky Hallsmith. In 2014, as a result of a successful Kickstarter Campaign, Hallsmith had the auditorium refurbished with new seats.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ England, Historic. "PENULTIMATE PICTURE PALACE, Oxford - 1278732| Historic England". historicengland.org.uk. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  2. ^ a b Hibbert, Christopher, ed. (1988). "Cinemas". The Encyclopaedia of Oxford. London: Macmillan. pp. 88–89. ISBN 0-333-39917-X.
  3. ^ a b c "History of the UPP". Ultimate Picture Palace. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  4. ^ Heine, Bill (2011). The Hunting of the Shark. Oxford: Oxford Folio. pp. 22–23. ISBN 978-0-9567405-2-6. Archived from the original on 8 December 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Ultimate Picture Palace". Oxford: Daily Info. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  6. ^ Wollenberg, Anne (15 November 2011). "Cine-files: Ultimate Picture Palace, Oxford". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 10 December 2012.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]